Skip to comments.An Assessment of Kenneth L Gentry's Internal Evidence For Dating Revelation
Posted on 03/03/2014 2:37:59 PM PST by dartuser
Kenneth L Gentry, Jr., makes evidence derived from exegetical data of the Apocalypse his major focus in building a case for dating Revelation prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Even though acknowledging that other advocates of either a Neronic and Domitianic date for Revelation's composition find no direct evidence within the book for assigning a date, he proceeds to find "inherently suggestive and positively compelling historical time-frame indicators in Revelation."
He uses the contemporary reign of the sixth king in 17:9-11 and the integrity of the temple and Jerusalem in 11:1-13 to exemplify arguments that are "virtually certain" proof of a date some time in the sixties. Before a look at his exegesis of these two passages and several others, however, Gentry's general methodology deserves attention.
Again, since the main achilles heel of preterism is the date of the book of Revelation, a detailed examination is in order. Enjoy ...
Thanks. Been chewing on this topic for 40 years.
A little more explanation would be much appreciated.
There have been several threads over the past few days posted by an individual that espouses the preterist view of end times. This view would see the words of Jesus in Matt 24 and the book of Revelation as fulfilled in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem.
Since the book of Revelation itself claims that it is a book of prophecy, those who hold to the preterist view must place the date of Revelation before 70 AD or else it cannot be prophecy, but merely writing down what already happened. This supposed early date for Revelation goes against the view of the vast majority of Biblical scholarship that John wrote Revelation on the isle of Patmos around 95 AD.
One particular preterist, Kenneth Gentry, wrote his PhD thesis defending an early date for Revelation; he sets out to 'prove' that it was written in the mid to late 60s AD. His approach consists of identifying both external and internal evidence. Since his external evidence goes entirely against the vast majority of Biblical scholarship, he was forced to weigh his arguments with a huge bias toward the internal evidence.
This article examines the internal evidence that Gentry claims supports an early date and presents counter arguments to his.
Hope this helps ...
Bump for later
This sentence broke something in my brain. I'm now obsessed with attempting to diagram it grammatically.
lol ... don't hurt yourself.
That would be me, though I am no preterist. Dispensationalists have the inability to distinguish between preterism and any other doctrine that does not adhere to their own contrived and gloomy doctrine.
>>>This view would see the words of Jesus in Matt 24 and the book of Revelation as fulfilled in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem.<<<
That is not true. I, personally, do not believe the book of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 A.D.; nor does Dr. Ken Gentry. Let the record show that Dartuser is not a straight shooter (no pun intended.)`
>>>Since the book of Revelation itself claims that it is a book of prophecy, those who hold to the preterist view must place the date of Revelation before 70 AD or else it cannot be prophecy, but merely writing down what already happened.<<<
That is correct. Dr. Ken Gentry and I, and also many preterists, hold that view, since we have been fresh out of prophets for about 1950 years. You see, the blood of all the prophets was blamed on Jerusalem in the Gospels, and Babylon the Great in the Revelation. For some reason, our miniscule, peonic minds somehow fell into the "trap" of believing that Jerusalem and Babylon the Great were the same city. Heaven forbid! LOL!
>>>This supposed early date for Revelation goes against the view of the vast majority of Biblical scholarship that John wrote Revelation on the isle of Patmos around 95 AD.<<<
Heaven forbid (again) that we be contrary to the majority who believed in the flat earth, in the past, and it's global warming counterpart, today!
>>>One particular preterist, Kenneth Gentry, wrote his PhD thesis defending an early date for Revelation; he sets out to 'prove' that it was written in the mid to late 60s AD. <<<
I have read that book, twice. It is a very well-written, heavily footnoted book, with very few challengeable discrepancies (so far, I have only found two questionable footnotes, out of hundreds.) It contains a remarkable array of historical and biblical information that
challenges demolishes the status quo. This is THE BOOK dispensationalists do NOT want you to read.
>>>His approach consists of identifying both external and internal evidence. <<<
That is some scary stuff! Wait, isn't that what biblical historians are supposed to do?
>>>Since his external evidence goes entirely against the vast majority of Biblical scholarship, he was forced to weigh his arguments with a huge bias toward the internal evidence.<<<
This is very deceitful on the part of Dartuser by his omission. He knows (or should know) that nearly all, if not all so-called "historians" rely on a single paragraph by a second-century historian named Irenaeus for their so-called "proof."
Take careful note that Irenaeus was from the 2nd century: and his book was about a century removed from being "on-scene." Also take careful note that Ireneaus "contradicted" himself TWO PARAGRAPHS earlier in his own book, if the paragraph in question was interpreted correctly by this consensus of so-called "historians;" which it was not.
In other words, the so-called "historians" misinterpreted Irenaeus' words; and this post by Dartuser is much-ago about nothing, except as an attempt to smear the good name of a Reformed Presbyterian pastor and educator named Dr. Ken Gentry.
>>>This article examines the internal evidence that Gentry claims supports an early date and presents counter arguments to his.<<<
This ought to be fun
Is this sort of like the shadows and penumbras in the Constitution?
I forgot to mention, many of Dr. Ken Gentry’s early-Christian references can be read and/or downloaded at this site:
It should be simple to diagram if you have access to a warp-sensored, brushless, diametrically-opposed, hermetically-sealed, magnetically-stabilized, laser-guided divining rod. It worked for me.
Yes, the ole' false analogy.
I have read that book, twice. It is a very well-written, heavily footnoted book, with very few challengeable discrepancies (so far, I have only found two questionable footnotes, out of hundreds.) It contains a remarkable array of historical and biblical information that challenges demolishes the status quo. This is THE BOOK dispensationalists do NOT want you to read.
Lol ... Why would you assume I would not want someone to read this book? He lays out his case very well ... as you have said. Everyone SHOULD read the book.
Before Jerusalem Fell by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr.
Then get Hitchcock's thesis
read that and then decide for yourself whether Gundry's arguments hold water. Then read the Wayne House article ... then you are in a much better position to decide for yourself. I encourage everyone to read both.
all so-called "historians" rely on a single paragraph by a second-century historian named Irenaeus for their so-called "proof."
And there is where you expose your willful neglect. You have clearly not engaged Hitchcock's work. If you would have read his work, Chapter 2 of his thesis deals with the two earliest sources for the date of Revelation (Iraneus is actually the later of the two). Then you continue into chapter 3, you would find that he lists 20 more early citations that have evidence for the late date of Revelation.
This whole idea that the quote by Iraneus is somehow 'confusing' is a fabrication out of necessity. For almost 2000 years no reference who cites Iraneus was confused about what he meant ... it is only when the "early daters" required confusion on Iraneus' statement that his statement became confused.
In other words, the so-called "historians" misinterpreted Irenaeus' words; and this post by Dartuser is much-ago about nothing ...
It's not about nothing ... it strikes to the heart of your theology. You absolutely require the date of Revelation to be before 70 AD. And so you must reinterpret any data that contradicts that requirement ... or your entire system crumbles to nothing.
You don't seem to realize that with all the intricacies and ramifications that have resulted from even mild preterism, your theological system, while not purposely built on it, nonetheless, is currently teetering on ... the date of a book.
an attempt to smear the good name of a Reformed Presbyterian pastor and educator named Dr. Ken Gentry.
I have not smeared him. I have openly acknowledged that he indeed wrote a book that lays out his case well. He is probably an admirable man of God whom I will enjoy spending eternity with. But to equate my disagreement as to his eschatology ... and the presentation of a conflicting view with defaming his character ...
I have found that the softcopy of Schaff in Bible Works 8 to be much quicker ... its searchable.
>>>I have found that the softcopy of Schaff in Bible Works 8 to be much quicker ... its searchable.<<<
Yes I believe Hitchcock mentions Hegesippus as the earlier source to Ireneaus. I read his paper a few months ago.
My apologies. I misunderstood your post.
>>>Yes, the ole' false analogy.<<<
No false analogy was presented: only fact, which is: consensus is not fact.
>>>Why would you assume I would not want someone to read this book? He lays out his case very well ... as you have said. Everyone SHOULD read the book.<<<
I am really happy to read that. I agree 100%. The paperback is available on Amazon at:
>>>Then get Hitchcock's thesis<<<
My first exposure to his dispensational leanings was a Youtube debate against some poorly qualified opponent. He used the same tired argument you used: that a vast majority of Biblical scholars support the late date for the Revelation, which means it is nothing more than a tradition. He also tried to contort Matthew 23:39 to assist in his argument. I was unimpressed. However, I would recommend the Youtube debate at:
>>>This whole idea that the quote by Iraneus is somehow 'confusing' is a fabrication out of necessity. For almost 2000 years no reference who cites Iraneus was confused about what he meant ... it is only when the "early daters" required confusion on Iraneus' statement that his statement became confused.<<<
I did my own research and this is what Irenaeus wrote that many historians use as proof:
"We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitians reign. [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V.30.3]
Many historians assume Irenaeus was stating the apocalyptic vision was seen towards the end of Domitian's reign. That is not the only possibility, but I would agree it is the most reasonable assumption from the wording.
It is worth noting that Nero's full name was Lucius Domitius Nero. Nero died in 68 AD, two years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. If John wrote the Revelation during the latter part of Nero's reign, he would be in his 60's, vs 95-100 if written during Domitian's reign.
The key time factors are "almost in our day" and "toward the end of Domitian's reign." That would mean that John saw the vision, wrote it in a book, had copies made, and sent them to the seven churches in Asia, all when he was approaching 100 years old. After his "release" he would "prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Rev 10:11.) That would be difficult today for a man approaching 100, even with modern transportation.
Recall that John was supposedly in exile when all this transpired. It could have taken years to finish the work and actually send the books. It is also worth noting that John never mentioned that he was in exile, but was there "for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 1:9.)
Now, the puzzler: two paragraphs before Irenaeus wrote the above statement, he wrote the following. Please read very carefully:
"Such, then, being the state of the case, and this number being found in all the most approved and ancient copies [of the Apocalypse], and those men who saw John face to face bearing their testimony [to it]; while reason also leads us to conclude that the number of the name of the beast, [if reckoned] according to the Greek mode of calculation by the [value of] the letters contained in it, will amount to six hundred and sixty and six [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V.30.1]
Did you get that? Two paragraphs prior to claiming the vision was almost in his day, Irenaeus was referring to approved and ancient copies of the book. The vision was almost in his day, but the copies of the book written about the vision were ancient? That is not the way people normally think, or write.
Therefore, we must assume that the historians have either misinterpreted his statement, or Irenaeus misstated one or more of the paragraphs. Whatever the case, it is not reliable proof, and should be discarded.
It is good that you took the time to look at the debate, however, a two or three hour debate (sorry, Im guessing here as I have not seen it) will not provide anything but a trivial bulletpoint summary of the 4-5 thousand hours of research in a PhD thesis.
You keep mentioning Iraneus ... Hitchcock's thesis answers the Iraneus issues ... and he goes on to document 21 more citations for the late date, one of which is earlier than Iraneus. You are best served by downloading his thesis and going through each citation for yourself.
We who hold the late date focus on Iraneus because he was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. So we have a quote from a second gen disciple of the author of Revelation. That is why the majority of scholars focus on Iraneus ... that is solid stuff.
Hitchcock's contribution to the debate provides additional evidence for the late date. This is the content of chapter 3, the 20 other citations that suggest the 95AD date.
I have read through page 61 (about half-way through Chapter 3.) So far I have seen nothing definitive; only conjecture. The reason for that conclusion is there is nothing definitive known to man. Opinions on external evidence from both sides is strictly that: opinion.
It is a shame Mark doesn't bother to take the time to make his dissertation searchable. To make it useful as a research tool, it should be searchable.
>>>We who hold the late date focus on Iraneus because he was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. So we have a quote from a second gen disciple of the author of Revelation. That is why the majority of scholars focus on Iraneus ... that is solid stuff.<<<
I know what you believe. You obviously don't know what I or Dr. Ken Gentry believe because you mischaracterized our beliefs in post #4. If you continue to add new posts without correcting the record, I will be forced to withdraw my apology from #17.
On to Polycarp: he was not born until 69 AD, but later claimed to know John the apostle. Yet, there is no (zero) evidence that the person running around after 70 AD claiming to be John was actually John the apostle. Paul warned us about false apostles:
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Cor 11:13-15 KJV)
What better way to make a name for one's self than claiming to be an apostle of Christ. I believe the real John was resurrected in 70 AD (the first resurrection in Rev 20,) along with the other apostles and elect: exactly as Christ promised; and the fellow running around afterward was an impostor.
Another major point: Dispensationalists use this statement by Polycarp to help "prove" a late date for the Revelation:
"I am greatly grieved for Valens, who was once a presbyter among you, because he so little understands the place that was given him [in the Church]. I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from covetousness, and that ye be chaste and truthful. Abstain from every form of evil. For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord? Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world? as Paul teaches. But I have neither seen nor heard of any such thing among you, in the midst of whom the blessed Paul laboured, and who are commended in the beginning of his Epistle. For he boasts of you in all those Churches which alone then knew the Lord; but we [of Smyrna] had not yet known Him. I am deeply grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in regard to this matter, and do not count such as enemies, but call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves." [The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Chapter XI]
I can assure you that there is not a soul alive on earth that knows what that means. But dispensationalists "demand" that Polycarp was claiming that the church at Smyrna did not exist until after the days of Paul. That "proof," of course, is only in their imaginations. Historians are all over the place on what Polycarp actually meant, as should anyone be who can read without the blinders of bias.
I will give you that I do not know the details of your position in total in the sense that I cannot read your mind ... but I am having no problem getting the gist of your posiition from the few postings though ... when in doubt ... assume you believe it all happened in 70 AD.
Is this a valid presuppostion about your view that I am making? Perhaps not ultimately ... but so far I think it is. Why? Because without fail you have responded with a 70 AD scenario to all my objections. Therefore it is safe for me to assume.
You made a blanket statement that you do NOT believe that all of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 AD. Maybe this would be easier if you just let me know what part of Revelation DIDNT take place in 70 AD. How about ...
Do you see room for a second Second Coming? If so, will THAT one be visible, literal, and earthly? Where in the Biblical text is that event mentioned?
Is Satan currently bound in the abyss ... not as of yet ... or has he already been cast into the lake of fire? Is there a literal lake of fire for unbelievers and Satan in your view?
What about the Great Commission in Matt 28? Was that fulfilled in 70 AD?
I believe the real John was resurrected in 70 AD (the first resurrection in Rev 20,) along with the other apostles and elect: exactly as Christ promised; and the fellow running around afterward was an impostor.
If the first resurrection has already taken place ... in what sense are those who were resurrected in 70 AD reigning with Christ now? Who exactly are the elect that were raised with the apostles?
Would you not say that Jesus had in mind your ruling when he uttered Matt 19:28 (|| -> Luke 22:30) ... "you who have followed me will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." In what sense are they judging the twelve tribes of Israel?
Has the second resurrection happened yet? If not ... when does it happen in your view?